'No chance' of Cole being sold, insists Mourinho

Joe Cole will not be leaving Chelsea during the January transfer window, manager Jose Mourinho said yesterday. "He wants to stay, he is ready to fight for a place here and, in fact, that's the same feeling that I have," he said.

Joe Cole will not be leaving Chelsea during the January transfer window, manager Jose Mourinho said yesterday. "He wants to stay, he is ready to fight for a place here and, in fact, that's the same feeling that I have," he said.

"We have had a conversation and I said: 'No chance of leaving. Don't think about it because I need everybody'. It's just a question of getting a chance. I've told him he's a good player, he works well and has a lot of ambition but at this moment the team is winning, playing very well and I'd be stupid to change it too much."

Having appeared to be prominent in Mourinho's plans at the beginning of the season Cole has not started a match since the "dead" Champions' League tie against Paris St-Germain three weeks ago. He has not even made the bench recently and has been linked, speculatively, to other clubs. But Mourinho said he would get his opportunity in January when other players, such as Arjen Robben and Damien Duff, needed a rest.

"I trust the boy and the chance will arrive for him," he said. The same applies to the midfielder Scott Parker. "It's busy, busy, busy," Mourinho said. "The squad is ready. We have players for rotation and I have a lot of solutions. It's good for the players because they will feel in January that there is a chance for everybody."

Mourinho said he was fully aware of how arduous the festive programme can be. But it is not, he said, "a drama" to play over Christmas. "The only little drama is that in England there are a lot of foreign professionals and you have no chance to go to your country. I think that's not easy for some of them or their families from the emotional point of view," Mourinho said.

The Chelsea manager also laughed off suggestions by Manchester United's Gary Neville that his side would find it hard to remain at the top for the remainder of the season.

"I think pressure is to be nine points behind," Mourinho said, referring to the lead his team holds over United. "I don't feel pressure when I'm in front. When you are behind you need to get results and at the same time you need to wait for the people in front of you to lose matches. I prefer our position to being nine points behind."

Today Chelsea host Norwich City and Mourinho said he had sat down with his players and warned them that it was important - after last weekend's draw against Arsenal - not to allow any points to be dropped so that their lead is reduced.

"I think in England everyone can lose points when you don't expect it," he said. "That's what I keep saying."

Mourinho also stated that winning the Premiership was now more important to him than the Champions' League. "I've never won it and I like to win new things," he said. "The Champions' League is a competition where only a great team can win, but only a great team with luck. In Premiership only a great team wins because it's 38 matches. It's not luck."

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